Andy Murray hopes to make history as he bids for Wimbledon final place


Andy Murray will look to eclipse the great Fred Perry by becoming the first British man to reach 11 Grand Slam finals when he takes on the Czech Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon.

Murray showed the grit of a champion as he battled his way past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday to reach another semi-final at the All England Club.

The Scot put his fans through the mill in a dramatic encounter with the Frenchman that had many on Henman Hill spilling their Pimm's in consternation and hiding behind their hands.

On Friday he will face the 6ft 5in 2010 finalist Berdych and will be hoping he can reach his third Wimbledon final.

But the pair are evenly matched, with Murray leading his opponent 8-6 in their encounters, though he has won their last four clashes.

Murray, 29, has been in imperious form since reuniting with coach Ivan Lendl before the Aegon Championships, winning 10 straight matches including the final at Queen's.

Lendl received a word of encouragement for Murray on Thursday from the Duchess of Cambridge, who was on Centre Court to watch the Williams sisters in their singles semi-finals.

Lendl said she apologised for not having seen any of Murray's matches yet, but asked him to pass on a message to the Scot, saying: "She said to wish him the best."

Murray was, however, watched in his quarter-final by the likes of David Beckham, adventurer Bear Grylls and Poldark actor Aidan Turner.

He said he notices celebrities watching at the beginning of matches but soon loses himself in his game.

He said: "Once you get into the match I really only concentrate on what's going on on the court, the people in my box.

"I'm not really thinking about everyone else that's watching."

Swiss maestro Roger Federer, who had American Sniper actor Bradley Cooper in his player's box on Wednesday, said it was great to have famous faces among the fans.

He said: "It's cool when guys like this come out, or Jack Nicklaus is here, I love that. Sporting figures or celebrities, it's nice. It elevates the tournament as well."

Federer, who has never lost a Wimbledon semi-final and is hoping to reach his 11th final at SW19, said that earlier in his career he was nervous playing in front of his family and famous people.

He said: "At the end of the day, today what makes me nervous is really legends of our sport.

"That's the only thing that still gets me nervous, when I see guys sitting watching my match.

"When I see them watching I feel like, 'Better play well'. You don't want to disappoint legends of our sport."

Elsewhere, Serena and Venus Williams will be on court again in the doubles semi-finals after coming through a tough three-set match on Thursday.

Serena beat Russian Elena Vesnina in both her singles match and the doubles quarter-finals, though the sisters were denied a final together after Venus lost out to Angelique Kerber.

The pair are on course for their sixth Wimbledon doubles title, which they last won in 2012.